Abstract The purpose of the Neural Sampling Theory (NST) is to propose a plausible neurobiological explanation for some general properties of learning and memory (LM) phenomena, based on the parallelism and redundancy of the nervous system organization; on the psychological side, the NST is inspired by the Stimulus Sampling and Encoding Variability theories. The sampling process which is its core, is not purely random; it depends on temporal and intensity factors. The NST may be implemented at different levels of the nervous system: synapse, neuron, assembly of neurons. Moreover, it may be incorporated in other formal models and improve their degree of neural realism. For instance it allows to give a more realistic representation of the connection weight in the connectionist models and of the noisy character of the nervous system.